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December Story Competition -- The End Times of the Elves! 
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Killed by Khorne
Killed by Khorne
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Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:51 pm
Posts: 2784
Location: Hinterlands of Khuresh; The Lost City of the Angels
"The dividing line between Asuryan and Khaine cuts through the centre of every Elven heart"
- Hotek, Priest of Vaul


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We find ourselves to be living in interesting times. The Witch King has invaded Ulthuan and the Sword of Khaine has been pulled from its ancient rest. The Unliving Dead are rising in the East, and a tide of Chaos grows in the North. It is a crux of peril, where the harshest of all choices must be made; a choice that will sunder kin from kin, comrade from comrade, and subject from ruler. To follow the Rule of Law and trust in the Son of Aenarion? Or to give oneself utterly to the urge for destruction and carnage?

What will be the wisest choice in this, the End of Times?

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Malekith beyond all hope, has been welcomed by many as the new Phoenix King, thanks to the conspiracy of major players within Ulthuan itself.

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Tyrion holds the Widowmaker and has been transformed; now
Khaine Incarnate! The dark power of our god surges through his veins, calling the devoted to his cause.

It comes the time for every Elf once and for all to determine their true dedication.

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Asuryan vs Khaine: To follow the Phoenix King ...or abandon to the Aestyrion?

Competition Format:

Tell us a story about one (or several) of your fluff character's heartrending choice in these End Times. Malekith or Tyrion? Asuryan or Khaine?

Enter your story (short or long as you like, but keep in mind the reader's interest and enjoyment) below. On 26th December the thread will be closed and a new one created for an open public vote on all entries.

Prize: The winner shall receive as a special custom title either the Champion of Malekith or the Chosen of Khaine, depending on your choice {your story has to reveal your choice one way or the other, no middle ground or desertion}. Battlefield lieutenant of the One True King of the Elves, or second only to the
Avatar, Tyrion, in holiness to the Bloody Handed God.

Loser: The person polling the least number of votes shall meet the fate of all deserters to either the Phoenix King or Khaine, and receive as a special custom title: Head on the Chopping Block!

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Bonus -- For the Glory of Khaine!

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The bonus is open to all and is not competitive (though you can certainly use it as a tie-breaker when deciding on your winner).

Tell us about a true game experience when one of your units or models distinguished itself in the name of Khaine. It can be the exploits of a command model (Champion, Standard or Musician) or of a whole unit.

- When did Khaine himself bless your dice? ;)

If telling us this true life story gets your creative juices flowing, feel free to use it as inspiration for the Competitive Storytelling above.

-=-=-

---> The price for reading this far is participation in For the Glory of Khaine! real experience recounting :mrgreen:

Do not contribute to this thread at your own peril :twisted:

By the month's end, there will be a sole victor ...and blood and corpses shall surely cover the land!!!

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Discussion:

Quote:
Great competition! I approve! Question: if you write the cruel choice of several of your fluff characters, and their choices differ - will it then be okay to write their stories 'together' in some fashion in order to make clear the choice of leader?


As long as we know the choice of your leader/protagonist, so that you qualify for the grand prize, go crazy!

N.B. This competition is open to all Elves (yes, Asur and Asrai lurkers!) and their respective fluff. After all, every Elf is now faced with the choice ...except for the Asrai it seems -- but we will give you the option even if GW don't ;) !lol!

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Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:29 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:46 pm
Posts: 1177
Location: The Depths of Despair
Great competition! I approve! Question: if you write the cruel choice of several of your fluff characters, and their choices differ - will it then be okay to write their stories 'together' in some fashion in order to make clear the choice of leader?

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Tides of Blood

As the sun rose over the bleak peaks of the Spiteful mountains, Jess'ar Bloodshade threw the sleeping furs aside and stretched his legs. His corsair commando had pulled scout duty - again - which meant sleeping in loose formation some distance from the main camp. The chill morning air struck him harshly in the face, and his legs felt stiff from the cramped sleeping posture he was so used to. Him, and all his men, knew full well that the tighter you bundle your body during slumber, the more heat you conserve. And conserving heat was paramount to survival in the wilderness of the land of chill. "Morning, skip" his second-in-command Waltori offered him and tossed a piece of bread and dried wilderbeast his way. Jess'ar graciously accepted the sparse breakfast.

"So we have an agreement?" The voice was sharp, and the words where almost like lashes in the air, crackling with authority and power. Jess'ar kept his posture, standing at attention before the great Crone Queen. "We have an agreement, your Maliciousness. My company will transfer from Clar Karond and here to Har Ganeth on the morrow. The recent chaos incursions are worrysome, and our blades and bows are pledged to your service. For this, you will pay us twenty gold sovereigns a day, to be further distributed amongst my men as I choose." Jess'ar chose his words with great care. This was a place where the lives of the individual where regarded with little more than cold disdain. But Hellebron merely nodded and threw him a purse. "The first months pay. Report to Revanar the Crag, she will give you further instructions." she said, effectively dismissing him.

Behind him, Jess'ar could hear the sounds from the main camp stirring to life. Tents where packed, bonfires doused and weapons sharpened. "Moveout in ten!" a muffled voice reached them through the woods. "Moveout in ten!" Jess'ars own voice echoed the command, and all around him his trusted commandos bundled up their furs, and checked their bolt magazines and repeater mechanisms for faults.

Revanar the Crag, one of Hellebrons Death Hag lieutenants, had been his superior officer for one and a half weeks time now. Her warband counted both witch elves and executioners of Har Ganeth, as well as simple spearmen and swordsmen drafted from other cities. They lacked in support troops, however, not a single dark rider was to be found amongst her ranks, and Jess'ars own "Serpent Claws" where the only real skirmishers in the group. Nevertheless, the warband was numerous. Although not as numerous as it had been. Hellebron had brought almost every idle blade-for-hire to Har Ganeth in recent weeks, and Jess'ar had swiftly understood the reasoning for this. Three times in as many days the army had clashed with roughly clad northsmen armed with axes and clubs. Three times had the Har Ganethi carved a bloody path through the opposition, but each time, elves had died too. Today would be no different.

"Bloodshade!" Revanars voice called Jess'ar to attention, and he rose to meet her. The long blade which he had been busy sharpening was positioned against a nearby tree. It was a Draich, although not one forged by him. While the executioners of Har Ganeth took great pride in their weapons, they had no need for them in death; and a well fashioned sword was more use in a living hand than in a dead one. "Yesterday, your men fled the field like cowards. Explain your actions!" Revanar emphasized her words with great care, and Jess'ar made sure to calculate all possible outcomes of his answer before giving it. "We where charged by Juggernauts in full plate. They where two for every one of us. It seems pointless to give your life away like this, especially when your bodyguard was already on its way to relieve us." She must see the reason in this argument, he thought. "A life given in Khaines service is never pointless!" was all she had in reply. "Do not retreat again. We move out at once. And your Serpent Claws will be my bodyguard today." As Jess'ars eyes widened in surprise, her mouth twisted in a cruel smile. "And this time, there will be no retreat."

"So we have an agreement?" Jess'ar bowed before the heavily armored figure in front of him. "We do, Your Grace. I will usurp command of a mercenary group, join with Hellebron, and serve her. I will aid her in whatever way I can, and when the time comes, I will persuade her into joining your assault on Ulthuan, just as you have foretold." Malekith nodded and dismissed him with a wave of his hand. Jess'ar held no illussion that he was the only "mole" placed at Hellebrons side, but he did not care. The Witch King had been very passionate about the absolute need to have a confident servant in Hellebrons army. One that would sway her to the rightful cause when the time was right. And who better than one of his own Black Guard? It had taken years to pass as a decent corsair, and years more to attain the rank of Bloodshade in the corsair commando unit known as the Serpent Claws. But for Malekith, no price was too high. He was a Black Guard, and his duty was to the one and only true King.

It was midday before the first commando returned with the grim news. "A massive host. Chaos warriors, hundreds of them, and thousands of marauders travel with them." Jess'ar knew the command before Revanar had even uttered the words. "Form ranks and prepare for glorious battle!" She handed a flagon to him, and told him to pass it around to his men. With a puzzled look, Jess'ar did as he was bid, gulped down a mouthful of the bitter substance before passing it along. Then he saw the first marauders appear from out the treeline in front of them. He trained his crossbow towards them, barked a command and heard twenty well trained commandos do the same. A second command was barked, and fourty black tipped bolts flew loose, and several of the marauders fell to the ground while more still howled in pain and surprise and withdrew back to the safety of the trees with bolt shafts protruding from arms, legs and bellies. On either side, companies of executioners stood in ranks, flanked by semi ordered city militia and wildly unordered witch elves.

"Steady!" commanded Jess'ar, as the treeline suddenly went rampant and heavily armed chaos warriors, armoured from top to toe and carrying heavy shields and large jagged axes came storming forwards. On both sides, less armored marauders ran, bearing flails, wooden clubs and smaller hatches. "Fire at will!" his repeater crossbow sent bolt after bolt into the oncoming mass, and each time a bolt found its mark, a marauder sank to the ground. Unlike other dark elves, Jess'ar understood that a wounded and dying foe will fight for his life, while a dead foe will not. But long before the uncoming storm of chaos reached their lines, the elven hosts own flanks broke into fragments. Not from fear, no. Nothing like that struck their forces on this day. The witch elves all but screamed with glee and anticipation as they leapt into their enemies' midst. Steel met steel, and steel met flesh, and sinew, and bone. Marauders and witch elves died in a crimson orgy, and now the ranks of phalanx and executioner bands followed the charge.

Revanar, so far silent, stepped forward and raised her weapons. "With me, Serpents! Blood for the Blood God!" Jess'ar wanted to urge the Death Hag into caution. After all, he was no good to anyone dead, and his mission had to be fulfilled. But no sooner had he opened his mouth to command a cautious retreat than he found himself drawing the 'borrowed' Draich and rushing forward. His head felt light and heavy at the same time, and he finally knew the truth of it all. He reached the enemy battleline only a split second later than Revanar. He cleaved through helmed and skull of the first chaos warrior that was unfortunate enough to cross him, but the next warrior that approached made him hesitate for a second. Mounted on a... beast of sorts, and stinking of rot, the chaos hero wore no helmet. His face was free for all the world to see, and huge blisters and festering oozes covered most of it. His right arm bore a shield, and his left arm was a tentacle in which an axe rested.

"Which puny elf will be the first to die at my blade?" he cried, and drove his mount forward. Revanar turned her head and took a step forward, but Jess'ar was faster. His blood felt alive, felt like fire itself, and he felt the sorcerous powers imbuing his blade. He stepped in front of Revanar, and she hissed at him, but his voice was loud and steady when he replied the chaos hero. "Jess'ar of the 2nd tower faces you today, human! I champion Malekith and Khaine both, and today you shall meet your end." The Draich felt light as a feather in his hands, and he lunged himself at his foe with a blood lust and a madness of one possessed. Again and again the heavy blade fell, but Jess'ar did not even hear the cry of surprise and agony that escaped from the chaos champion before his tentacle arm was severed. Nor did he hear the wail of pain of his disfigured mount as he carved it in two. Or the pleading for mercy of the champion before his torso was cleaved by the heavy Draich. Again and again the heavy weapon came down, and for every strike another life came to an end. And the only sound Jess'ar could hear was a booming voice in his mind.
KILL! KILL! BLOOD! KILL!


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Bonus + edit: For the Glory of Khaine!

The above short story depicts the ventures of my Bloodshade who commands my my unit of "corsair commandos",corsair models converted to shades with repeater crossbows and painted in a darker theme. The premises of my story is a black guard who, under the orders of Malekith, joins with an army under the supreme command of Crone Hellebron in order to act as his mole agent. But in the heat of battle, the frenzy overtakes him and he becomes Khaines willful servant. Indeed, how else can anyone possible explain this impossible feat from an actual game:

the shade unit ("shadestar" containing several characters, amongst others a death hag with witchbrew) is flank charged by an exalted hero of nurgle on a demonic mount. The hero had previously suffered 1 wound. It was the final game turn, and the hero was in base contact with several of my characters. Per chaos rules, he must shout challenge, and I expected him to be fully capable of killing one of my characters should I decline - and, since I would not be steadfast, I would risk breaking. Hence, the noble shade champion was selected to accept the challenge, expecting him to die to the mount attacks and hence only give up a few CR. But damn the dice! Double 6 to hit, double 6 to wound, and my opponent promptly fails both his armor saves and then, he fails one of his two ward saves. It was not without some degree of pleasure that I revealed the other tricksters' shard on my BSB who was in base contact as well, and he failed the reroll. One dead exalted hero, who was even his BSB.

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Name: Ladry (female)
Class: Mage (Pyromancer)
Equipment: Staff, longsword, dagger, 20 gold, insignia ring.
Skills: Power of Aqshy (2), defensive figthing
WS4, S2, T3, D4, I6.


Last edited by Thraundil on Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:23 pm
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Black Guard

Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:26 pm
Posts: 262
Location: Italy
Ok, here is my story.
I hope you enjoy it. English is not my first laguage, so I'm certain I've made many mistakes.
Nonetheless I had to show my allegiance!
Give me the title I deserve ;)





Uriel Whitehand is forced on his knees, hold by two executioners: his left hand is resting on the chopping block.
The Draich Master above him speaks with contempt in his voice:
“ Captain, this is your last chance to embrace the true faith. Surrender to Khaine, and His Avatar on earth, our only Lord Tyrion!”
Uriel stays silent. His cloak drenched in blood, his right hand missing and his arm still bleeding.
“If you persist in your error, not only shall we kill you, as we certainly will, but, before we finish you, we’ll give you to Khaine’s brides , so that they can indulge in their favourite prayers on your body. Do you hear me??!!”
Uriel clears his throat, coughing, then speaks in a whisper:
“I’m a loyal soldier. I obey to my Lord commander Malekith. He’s the righful King of all Elves, and I spit on you, damned fanatics! Traitors! Perverts! Slaanesh worshippers! .... “.
Before the sentence ends, the Draich’s blade falls in a sparkling ark, cutting away Uriel’s left hand.
The captain screams in agony, but the two holding him, force his head on the cutting block.
“How dare you call us Slaanesh worshippers! You blasphemous scum!?”
Uriel meets the Draich Master’s gaze, and says defiantly:
“Now you follow a false god, and your temple is led by Morathi, that demon summoner biatch, Slaanesh lover, and kinslayer!”
Uriel is focused on the Draich above his head, hoping his words are enough to provoke his own death.
He’s tempted to add some more insult, then he sees that the Draich is going for his neck, and his face betrays all his relief.
“Hail Malekith!” is his last thought.

_________________
... and Justice for all!!!

.... and enthusiast member of the league of extraordinary druchii gentlemen


Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:35 pm
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Head on the Chopping Block

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:10 am
Posts: 7
Location: On Khaine's altar, in agony.
My own attempt at this, first time jotting anything Warhammery down, too. Hell, first post here but let's give this a go!



They’d been marching for days now, venturing forth across the frozen wastes of Naggaroth. As far as Vaik could tell the armoured band were a week off the coast and their agreed upon staging point, east of Clar Karond. Now, on the outskirts of one of the various Autarii haunted forests he called a halt.

His warriors, outfitted in dark human-hide kheitans and light mail stood, waiting for his word, would they push on and march through the cold night or make camp, wasting even more time. Scouts had spotted a clearing not a mile from where they now held ground, presenting an ideal camp-site; so long as no damnable Shades disturbed them during the cold night. He didn’t hold out much hope, the entire expedition was cursed, or so it seemed.

Troubles had beset them the entire journey: rations had gone missing, tents were misplaced and one dark night, a sentry was found dead; both eyes missing and his throat slit from ear to ear in a sinister grin. Two pieces of bronze had been left in the gory sockets.

Several loud and angry voices from the party called it an omen, a sign from Khaine that they’d chosen the wrong path; Vaik had those voices of dissent silenced quickly enough and indeed, one man was still being dragged behind his Cold One, tied to its enormous tail by a length of rope and ingenious use of a small dagger through the tendons of his feet. He’d been dead for weeks but Vaik left him there as a grim reminder.

Sighing, Vaik signalled for the men to set up camp, they were all tired from the march, the pace set by his tireless reptilian mount and he knew their mutterings would soon turn into anger; despite their destination. He swung down from the Cold One’s back and began to lead it, tugging on its reigns to prompt the beast forwards; following one of the scouts. What are a few ghosts in the woods compared to the wrath of the Khainite cult, he thought sourly.

Vaik pushed into the forest despite the deep and untrustworthy growl from the Nauglir, more used to its deep caves and the open road than the confusing sights of tree-trunk after tree-trunk. His scouts led the way, halting from time to time to check on his and the less agile members of the group’s progress. It made for hard going, Vaik’s heavy plate and the lumbering beast he led did not lend themselves well to the environment and not for the first time the Druchii cursed the state of Naggaroth; the exodus to Ulthuan had left naught but trouble in the southern-most areas of the land, bandits, cultists and war-parties were all that remained, though he still uttered a dark prayer to those left in the north. It was better to stay armoured and in the saddle than on foot and not.

Pale moonlight shone through the dense trees and Vaik swore as the scouts had vanished deeper into the thick underbrush, hurrying as best he could after them. The heavy-set Nauglir sped up in turn, over-taking the armoured Elf in its own single minded pursuit. Cursing, Vaik did his best to pull the creature around but was forced to release its reigns after a mighty turn almost wretched his arm clean from its socket. Moodily he watched the Cold One crash into the brush, leaving a clear path of destruction in its wake.

It was only once the beast had vanished from his sight that Vaik noticed how quiet it was. No heavy footfalls followed him, and no matter how hard he strained his hearing there came no familiar rattling of chainmail or the crunch of grass and snow underfoot. Slowly he turned and almost sighed with relief, not five sword lengths from him stood one of his men; a stocky Druchii with a shaved head that he’d picked up in the Hag who wore the thick scaled cloak of a corsair.

“Where are the others?” Vaik asked, glancing to either side of the man in an attempt to spot any other stragglers.
Instead of the reply he expected, the corsair groaned and toppled forwards. Two black shafted bolts stuck out from his back.

Not taking the time to check for a pulse, Vaik turned and ran in the direction his Nauglir had gone, swearing violently as he went, the Autarii must of been watching them as they approached, he reasoned as trees swept past him in a blur, branches scoring thin cuts on his pale face. The trees began to thin out after several minutes of blind thrashing through the trees and each moment Vaik dreaded the sudden piercing sting of a bolt but none came. The trees vanished from either side of the Highborn and Vaik found himself in the clearing, blinking in the moonlight. His scouts, three slim figures in black cloaks stood there as still as statues, behind them were the remainder of his party.

The first repeater bolt didn’t even register in Vaik’s confused mind, only a sharp pain in his right shoulder. The second drew a roar of anger from his throat and his hand searched at his belt for his blade, though too late did he realise that it’d been left hanging on his Cold One’s saddle. A third bolt pierced the joint of his greaves, the jagged edge digging into his knee. Before he knew it, the Elf was flat on his back.

Vaik’s vision spun, darkness creeping about the corners of his gaze; vaguely he realised that he was in pain, the bolt must have shattered his knee-cap, or at least tore a ligament. A shape, black on black loomed and he glared hatefully up at it. It was one of the scouts, a Druchii in a dark cowl, his features hidden in the depths of the hood. He had a bare blade in his hand, and with his free he drew back the hood revealing a youthful face and blazing, copper eyes.

The Assassin knelt then, resting his knee painfully on Vaik’s left arm, the wounded Highborn spat a curse, and struck out with his right hand only to realise too late that the bolt stuck in his pauldron had locked the plates together, rendering him helpless. The cold point of the blade came down; resting below his chin and the turn-coat smiled a grin almost as dangerous as the weapon itself.

“As is the fate of all traitors, servant of the false-King,” the Assassin growled, digging the knife a millimetre into the soft skin of Vaik’s neck, “The true followers of Khaine will pick your bones clean, and then shatter them. You are unworthy as even a sacrifice.”

Vaik bared his teeth in a feral display, struggling against the odds to pull his arm free to no avail; the last thing he heard was the roar of a Nauglir, a moment too late to stop the Assassin’s dark work.


Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:58 am
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Shade

Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:50 am
Posts: 102
He had been told to wait and so he did.

Loec had whispered in dreams of the knife edged moment of opportunity this battle would provide; a mere moment to seize vengeance or salvation from the chaos of the clash between those chosen by Khaine and those chosen by Asuryan. And so Vali, Prince of The False Face, sat down on his haunches and waited. Swathed in shadow; arrayed about him were the archers and wardancers of Belac Agaith, hawk eyed killers pledged to the Trickster God’s cause. Though they had seen much of battle that past year and little of profit; they remained loyal to Vali and prepared to leap into the teeth of the hell before them with a blade and chuckle. For now they were protected from combat, kept in reserve on the inky paths of the Halls of Loec but when they made their move, it would be a storm of steel the equal of any force on the field; they would have the Laughing God’s tithe and they would exact a heavy price for it.

From his perch Vali witnessed the mad charge of the Aestyrion, little more than clawed beasts overcome by the whispers of dread Kaela Mensha Khaine, as they broke against the phalanxes of Naggaroth and Ulthuan like surging waves against the shore. Each successive pulse of frenzied elves tore gashes in the defensive wall of Black and Phoenix Guards, though they would drag many of Tyrion’s animals with them into death. Those deaths bothered Vali substantially less than what would follow; whether one followed Asuryan or Khaine he had to be an idiot of the highest order to kill his brother and expect to bring his family fortune. However, Vali was the Chosen of Loec and no fool besides, he saw the efforts of the Loremaster Teclis to unravel the Great Vortex and circuit of waystones that kept the souls of elvenkind safe from the predations of Slaanesh, felt the rise of Nagash and the reborn Goddess of Death and knew that before long elven souls would become foodstuff for those cursed beings. Even with Loec’s direct intervention what was coming promised to be the greatest tragedy in the long history of The People even unto the end of times.

The rhythm of the battle shifted as skeletal remains of elven bodies raised from the depths of the Inner Sea to the call of the Widowmaker. Beside him there was a derisive snort from young Crepitare, one of the band’s Spellsingers, wild and fierce as a blooded wolf and quivering with the desire to unleash her full fury on the scions of Khaine, she was one of the few in Belac Agaith who held to Kurnous, at least until Tyrion, Khaine’s Fell Avatar had slain Orion and driven the touch of the Hunter God from the minds of his faithful. Vali shared Crepitare’s initial judgement of the situation; Tyrion’s possession by Khaine had hardly increased his tactical flair, undead were so overused these days. Despite the gravity of the situation, Vali chuckled to himself.

The Mirthshard, Talisman of Loec, pulsed with energy where it lay imbedded in Vali’s chest, alerting the Prince to a new play of magic on the battlefield. In response to the Call of Khaine, the freshly minted Phoenix King extended the Flame of the Phoenix, creating embers that blazed with the might of the Creator God, wore the face of great kings of the past and anchored the battleline against the tide of the dead and the lost. Vali had know more than one of them, sang and danced in their courts, but was unmoved by their return. The moment still waited for him.
Again his heart pulsed as someone in Tyrion’s command sought to undo the enchantments the Phoenix King wrought. His spellsingers and spelldancers buzzed with excitement as they chanted and each attempted to divine the source of the magical interference, one of them manipulated the tendrils of shadow into a scrying mirror and almost immediately an alabaster form filled it.

Morathi!

There were hisses and growls, muttered oaths and over it all the sound of grinding teeth. Morathi had been the cause of great pain to the elven people, to many kinbands within Belac Agaith and to Vali personally. Taking whatever small cue played about Vali’s face his mages immersed themselves immediately in counterspelling, thwarting Morathi’s efforts almost instantly. The Hag Sorceress’s confusion was as palpable in the depths of the mirror as the feral hunger that had grown inside the room. The time was now.

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The soldiers Tyrion had assigned to watch over Morathi died without raising voice or blade. One moment they were holding an unengaged hill of pilled waystones, then there was a shimmer, then they were dead. No other force in the world could have executed such a complete encirclement and crossfire manoeuvre, but these were Asrai archers, scouts and waywatchers; their enemies went down with arrows embedded in eyes, throats and open mouths. The hill would provide the stagging point for the strike on Morathi herself and they quickly set about themselves with concealing enchantments. They would wait and, like a poisoned viper, they would strike suddenly, unexpectedly and fatally. The moment of vengeance was upon them. Somewhere, in the midst of battle, Tyrion threw back his head and shouted in triumph.

“Vengeance!”

Vali’s eye moved from Morathi to the battle and back every few moments; calculating the best route for a strike. The plan was clear and simple, shoot the witch out of the sky and storm down the hill to flay her painfully. The mages of Belac Agaith would maintain counter measures for Morathi’s magic and the arrows of the Asrai would clear the path; it was a method they had used many times and every individual knew their place. Vali glanced again to the field and readied his warriors with a raised sword; one of the pair blessed by Loec himself. Behind the magical mask he wore in battle a predatory snarl pulled at his lips and perhaps, without his knowledge, he felt the pull of Khaine in his mind. Once more Morathi banked and came back their way, just within bowshot.

A voice pounded in Vali’s mind.

‘THE TIME IS NOW!’

He stepped to the lip of the hill and heard bowstrings come into tension behind him, one last glance at the path...
It had been more than a Great Season of Athel Loren since he’d seen her face and even then it had been in portraits painted and hung on the walls of Ariel’s personal chambers but even in the trappings of war, there was no mistaking the woman struggling for survival before him.

Allisara, Wife to Malekith, sister to Ariel, beloved of Asrai, Asur and Druchii alike.

She fought with a fury out of character with the tales he’d been weened on, snapping out at blood mad foes with spear and spell in equal effect but beset from all sides just the same. Araloth, Lord of Talsyn and his Eternal Guard fought to link up with her, but they could not possibly pierce the press of the Aestyrion. Overhead Morathi floated into position, unaware that sure death lurked below.

‘NOW! THE TIME FOR VENGEANCE IS NOW!’

Allisara spun to face a leaping Druchii, spitting him on her spear like a boar, but conceding a slash from a dagger across the thigh from a beastial elf in the scrap garments of a White Lion. She stumbled slightly and the mob pressed in, howling with glee. Still Morathi floated closer.

Vali, Prince of the False Face, Highdancer of Belac Agaith felt the hands of fate and choice upon his shoulders; did he side with vengeance and slay Morathi, or provide salvation for one lone elven woman, whatever her blood and title? Vengeance or Salvation? Khaine or Asuyran?
With a final, almost wistful glance, Vali made his choice and played his hand.

“With me!” the shout carried on the magic laden wind and Vali veered his course towards Allisara. With the practiced ease of long acquaintance bow strings played out the melody of death, alternating between clearing a path for the wardancer strike force and hammering the foes of Allisara back. Wardancers lept and slew and sung and Vali led them into the gap to form up around the princess, a writhing ring of shadows and death. The choice had been for Asuyran; the possibility of new life over the certainty of death. Thus was the Weave of Nature and the way of the Asrai, if they died this day, it would be in service to new life and new beginnings. Vali viciously cut down leaping fool, leaving the elf’s skull in three pieces and laughed triumphant; the choice had been made.

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The Crowned Eternal King of the Elves stood at the balcony and surveyed the scene below him, Ulthuan was lost, as was Naggaroth and though they feasted, most of the elves below were little better than refugees with neither clan nor land to call their own. Malekith wondered to what degree, if any, he even cared.
He felt the presence, rather than heard it, a pull at the shadows he was now bound to but made no move of opposition as a pair of blades crossed at the base of his skull. Dread Malekith, mighty Malekith, would not give an assassin the dignity of his eye.

“So you have finally come to make your move against us then?” The blades whispered to him, were tied to him now and he wondered idly if they could even prick his flesh. They were tools forged in and of the Shadow.

“Did you know she was there?” He had not conversed with the would-be regicide for many centuries, but the voice was unchanged.

“You expect anything to escape our notice boy?”

The blades tightened ever so slightly, the whispers growing louder.

“And yet you still left her? Once more to be felled on the blade of a treacherous madman?”

Malekith pondered that for a moment and sighed in a manner he had not done so in millennia. There was a profound sadness there and a regret of the way things could have been, though no being, mortal or otherwise, would ever witness it. Still he would not have changed his actions one iota.

“As we said boy, our former wife did not escape our notice.”

There were deliberate steps as the assassin turned and began walking away, his emotions bound to the Eternal King through the shadow they shared. Malekith allowed himself a slight turn of the head, momentarily more elf than king, catching the silhouette of the receding elf.

“But neither did it escape our notice that her son was present on that battlefield nor did we doubt the choice he would make in the matter. We have dire need of such in the days ahead.”

There was a pause, a digesting of words that carried heavy meaning below the surface. Here again another choice; service to the People or fragmentation and therefore oblivion.

“Then you have my service, mine, my family’s and my people’s, from this day until your final day.”

Malekith, Eternal King of the United Elven People, allowed himself one unguarded smile.

_________________
For us, there is no longer the druchii, the asur and the asrai; now there are only the Asdra; The Laughing Ones.

For us The Season of Doom is ended, now The Season of Opportunity is begun.


Last edited by Makiwara on Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:04 pm
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Wow! :shock:
this is the End Times indeed, when mere slaves on the altar achieve such deeds! :P
Compliments guys, welcome to Druchii.net, you have catched the spirit and one of you - one only - ought to win the title, and get rid of the servitude.

_________________
Winds never stop blowing, Oceans are borderless. Get a ship and a crew, so the World will be ours! Today the World, tomorrow Nagg! {--|oBrotherhood of the Coast!o|--}


Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:08 pm
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Image

Dead corpses everywhere. Dead horses and dead knight rotting in the sun. While the witch elves baded in the blood of the dead, the executioners cleaned their holy swords. Another bloody victory.

In the middle of the Druchii camp a black tent stood towering above the others. Lord Drakon’s tent. The Dark Elf lord had just started to discuss the gained loot with his generals when a cool breeze entered his tent. A messenger had come. With news from Naggaroth. Terrible news.

"Leave us."

After his generals had left, the messenger spoke without further delay.

“Our city Har Ganeth has gone, all of Naggaroth has gone. After Chaos hordes invaded our icy lands Malekith gave it up without a fight. He mobilised all Druchii to invade Ulthuan and finally took the Phoenix Throne. Without clear reason the Asur welcomed him as their new king. He won the longest war fought in this world, only to betray our people. He denounced Khaine as our god and killed its followers. Tullaris is dead. Shadowblade is dead, all hope is lost. We heard rumours that bastard of an Tyrion took the widowmaker to rescue our cause, but he is also dead. Ulthuan has sunk, the known world of Elves has come to an end. Malekith and all elven survivors moved to Athel Loren to live united under his rule. All is lost. We have to join them and pledge our alleg.. “

Blood spattered from the messengers neck while Drakon removed his blade slowly. While the lifeless body fell to the ground Drakon’s mind razed as quick as his blade had found its target. It seemed Malekith had won. Malekith had betrayed all only to reclaim a throne which had now sunk. He had forsaken the only true god. But all of this was no surprise, after all Drakon had been in open rebellion for years. Under the command of Hellebron.

Bonus: But Hellebron, Queen of the Cult had died in the battle against the vampires, so he was now the chosen one. She saved the battle, by charging out of the unit of executioners to rescue her witch elves from total destruction from a unit of crypt horrors. The fact she endured her 'blood week' combined with blessing from Khaine himself she killed three of those in one round of combat. 'Soon after that she was killed by death magic, leaving him in command of all the Khainites of Har Ganeth.

Drakon and his loyal host was still stationed in Bretonnia, so Athel Loren was close. Malekith might rule an united force of all elves, but he has access to the best veteran dark riders in the world. His shades could out shoot any elf. But most of all, his executioner horde was the most disciplined force on earth. He knew what to do.

He gathered his captains. He instructed them to prepare his force for a march to Athel Loren.

He smiled at the thought of the upcoming justified bloodshed. So it started.

The last march of the Khainites.

Image

With the new End Times Fluff this December story telling comes as a welcome addition to the fluff of Lord Drakon. To read more how this fluff developed and the bonus story of Hellebron dying against Vampire Counts in a 2400 points battle to save her witch elves take a look at :

http://www.druchii.net/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=72389
http://www.druchii.net/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=75036

_________________
The 13th Legion


Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:07 am
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The Sister Unmasked

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Malendris wondered how it had come to this. She travelled in the company of unfamiliar warriors, a Sister of Slaughter now without siblings, in the defence of a realm and a throne she had always yearned to cast down. Scant weeks ago, she would have murdered her new companions without a second’s thought, and revelled in the kill. These are unprecedented times, she thought with a bitter smile, and only Eldrazor knows the boundaries of the Arena of Death. Something had been amiss ever since the Northern savages had fallen upon Naggaroth like a tidal wave of blood and nightmares.

Those had been heady days. The Bloodied Horde had provided no shortage of worthy opponents, whether berserk Northerners, gore-slicked daemons or beasts that defied sane description. [bonus] Malendris had revelled in the joy of battle as she and her sisters danced and slaughtered their way through the ruined streets of Har Ganeth. Howling beastmen, clanking mechanical beasts and furious daemon-hounds – all were fine foes, deserving of her sublimely artistic battle-arts and the graceful deaths only such as she could deliver. [/bonus] Still, as the fighting degenerated into desperate, relentless carnage, Malendris answered the Witch King’s rallying cry. All of Naggaroth rose to assail hated Ulthuan one final time. Offered such a stage, with victory or death the only prizes, Malendris would be nowhere else.

The days that followed the fall of the Eagle Gate had been a blur. Everything up until the glorious slaughter at the Shrine of Khaine felt like the echoes of a past life. Some part of Malendris railed at this, insisted that all was not as it should be, but its pleading was drowned in the savage indulgences which had followed. The once-hated Prince Tyrion, the Dragon of Cothique, had joined with the lady Morathi, claimed the Widowmaker and embraced Khaine, and Malendris had gladly been swept along in the shadowed tide that followed him. While Tyrion recovered from his wounds, Malendris threw herself into the gladiatorial amusements of his court. In this new realm, her murderous skills seemed heightened to almost divine levels, eclipsing even her finest performances in Naggarond and Har Ganeth. As each of these displays ended, she longed for them to continue – but this desire for mayhem paled in comparison to the baying crowds. Most had fought alongside her at the Blighted Isle. Their appreciation had grown louder, more strident, and increasingly more akin to the howling of the Northern savages than to connoisseurs of her deadly skills.

It was not just the sounds, either. She had seen the change in their eyes, the hunger in their hollow expressions. They were no better on the battlefield – if anything, her fellow warriors now put Elven speed and brute strength to far greater application than precision strikes or tactics. To these creatures that had been druchii, these... aeskhaine, all life was merely prey, wanton slaughter their only amusement. She had felt their bloodlust, too, and wondered why she had retained anything of herself. It was hard to recall any details about that battle on the Blighted Isle except the maddening haze of fury and the ecstasy of bloody triumph. In the weeks since, though, shards of doubt had crept into Malendris’s soul. The makeshift arenas of the Aestyrion provided ample opportunity for Malendris to display her skills. She had singled out captured traitors and champions for her attentions, rather than the clearly-overmatched levied troops taken in droves after the battle. Her fellow Sisters had shown no such restraint. Butchery for its own sake seemed to be the sole panacea for so many around her, but their acts – and her own, even those only half-remembered – filled her with a deep unease she had never known before.

Perhaps it was her reasons for fighting – it was victory against worthy foes that she sought, not killing for its own sake, or for the salty tang of blood spraying across her mask. Perhaps it had been her half-forgotten devotion to Eldrazor and the Lord of Blades’ creed, impressed on every Sister of Slaughter during her initiations. It might even have been the blind asrai lord at Withelan, a foe finally worthy of her full skills and undivided attention. The press of battle had forced Malendris away before she could test herself against him. She had planned to return to face him as the fighting drew on, but one of her Sisters, having feigned death at his feet, rose and slipped a blade through his ribs while his attention was momentarily elsewhere. Despite herself, Malendris felt only a vengeful satisfaction when her Sister was skewered on an asrai spear seconds later.

After Withelan, her mood had darkened, but not in the same manner as the sisters of her troupe. Their skills and artistry steadily began to fall away, replaced by a relentless impulse to murder. Malendris had been forced to slay several of them in one performance, when the officiating Prince Dalroth declared that, in praise of Khaine, only the strongest gladiator would leave the arena alive. Covered in the blood of those who had been her Sisters, she emerged triumphant. Had it not been for her mask, Malendris had no doubt that Dalroth would have ordered his archers to shoot her – her face was contorted in bitter rage for having had to kill her Sisters for his amusement and her own survival. In the days that followed, Malendris began to notice those few within the host who, like her, had not surrendered to bloodlust. So it was that when the Cothiqui sorceress and Tyrion’s bodyguard stole away from camp in the night with a pride of White Lions, Malendris knew to follow them. Her spirit raged against the shadow that had fallen over her comrades, and this group’s purpose could only be directed against that spreading darkness.

She had been discovered shortly thereafter – having lived her life in the arena and on the battlefield, she was no woodsman. The White Lions were too many to face, but they were no longer her enemies. Brought before their captain, Malendris swore that none had marked her departure, and that whatever lay before them, it was preferable to enduring the fate of her Sisters. One of the White Lions remarked that a druchii gladiatrix would only seek tools to wreak greater carnage or a coward’s escape from death in the arena. Malendris countered that, regardless of the Lions’ intentions, there could be no greater victory for a Sister of Slaughter than to prove the superiority of Eldrazor’s creed over Khaine’s madness. Another ventured that a city-dweller would only slow them down in their escape. Laughing, Malendris replied that only one who had never seen her in the arenas would question her grace and speed. Having witnessed her performance before Prince Dalroth, the White Lions’ captain did not disagree.

Her companions kept distrusting eyes on her, but Malendris kept their pace, and saved more than one during skirmishes on their journey north. Seeing her spill the blood of her own kind lessened her new companions’ doubts; knowing that she had never once asked their goal or their destination gave them further reassurance. When their leader had demanded to know her intentions, Malendris had responded that she would stand against whatever Tyrion had become, even if it meant siding with the Phoenix Throne. Malendris told none of them her true purpose, but she suspected all of them shared it.

Whatever happened, she would not become aeskhaine.

-----

Tabletop Recollections:
People in my local area were surprised when I fielded a unit of 10 Sisters of Slaughter in a recent teams tournament. The general consensus was that they were over-priced and too vulnerable to shooting to be worth taking. That changed after their performance against a combined Daemons and Beastmen army.

Due to a last-minute withdrawal, I was paired up with a Forest Spirits-based Wood Elf army. The Sisters hung back, awaiting the arrival of the ambushing Flesh Hounds. Sure enough, the Flesh Hounds arrived in position to threaten my Sorceress’s unit, and the Sisters positioned themselves to receive the charge (after a couple of hounds were cut down by Reaper fire). The Sisters cut down all but two of the remaining Hounds before they could attack, and only lost one of their own in return. Losses from Daemonic Instability took care of the rest.

After utterly destroying the Flesh Hounds, the Sisters flank-charged a horde of Bestigors (as a 5-man unit of Warlocks charged into their rear) and broke them in a single round of combat. After running down the Bestigors, the Sisters took the charge of a heavily-injured Soul Grinder which had just dispatched a Treeman Ancient. They inflicted three wounds before it could even take a swing at them – enough to send the cyber-daemon back to the Forge of Souls. Flushed with victory, they reformed and helped the Corsairs chase the only remaining enemy unit off the table.

Only four of the Sisters fell during the battle, but they had taken out or driven off close to 1500 points worth of enemies.

_________________
"The wrath of a good man is not to be feared. They have too many rules."

"Good men don't need rules. Today is not a good time to find out why I have so many."


Last edited by Haagrum on Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:42 am
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Ecator Scythe stood alone.

It had often been as such, of late. But solitude was only one of the prices he must pay for his choice. One choice, and centuries of his life’s work had been sacrificed. But did he have any alternative?

Dawn broke over the Granite Hills to the east, tinting the pillar of smoke that had been Clar Karond a blood red, and Scythe took a long swig from the wine skin that had lived in his cloak in the days since that night. The vile spirit burned every inch of the way down, forcing a grimace on Scythe’s face and watering his sunken, sleepless eyes. Sunken. Yes. Another swig – this one longer – and the sting nearly drove the image of his beloved Black Ark from his mind. Nearly. A sudden cackle of laughter: Dawn’s Lament had earned its name for glory, for terror, for battle… but the scuttled Ark’s memory had haunted his mornings ever since.

---

The Lament was returning from a ruinous Brettonian slaving raid when Scythe received orders to reroute the black ark to the shores of Ulthuan. Orders, the sorceress’ shadowy messenger assured, which emanated from none other than the Witch King himself.

Ulthuan…. What was Malekith planning? Scythe and his crew had been away from the Land of Chill for much longer than originally planned – the usual slaving routes had been disappointingly lacking in returns, and even more frustratingly fraught with plague-daemons and their fool thralls from the wastes. The Lament’s captain had never seen Nurgle-beasts in such numbers! His yield had been a paltry few hundred plague-ridden slaves, all overboarded and immolated within weeks of setting sail for home, lest they infect his crew in it’s totality. Watching his gold burn that day had been sickening. Watching half his corsairs fall in battle to the tide of filth had made the trip one to forget quickly.

Dawn’s Lament and her crew were in no shape for war. Whatever the Witch King had planned – likely another culling of the weak disguised as an invasion – could wait for the Lament to re-supply at Clar Karond’s shipyards.

Passing Karond Kar into the Sea of Chill, Scythe noted the thick pillars of black smoke to the north. It couldn’t be… the watchtowers? Fallen? There had to be some other explanation.

It was only as the Lament sailed past Blacklight Tower, into the mouth of the Sea of Malice, when Scythe witnessed the cloud – there was no other way to describe it – of Black Arks, shrouding the bay as far as he could see.

All sailing east. But were they sailing for war, or fleeing it?

Ecator Scythe knew his stop would be quick. Whatever was happening, he and the Lament would want a part of it. Fleetmasters were made in events of this magnitude. He had never seen that many Black Arks – could never have even imagined such a dread fleet. Knowing he would have no choice but to join them were Dawn’s Lament to be seen, he charted a course along the south coast of the bay, and ordered his remaining sorceresses to summon a shroud of shadows to conceal his passage to Clar Karond.

They arrived to chaos.

Frenzied masses of druchii swarmed the docks at the shipyards of the Tower of Doom. Scythe’s guards had to dispatch a handful foolish enough to attempt to board the Lament. What could be happening? Scythe had to find his contacts in the city, and quickly. Leaving the Lament to his second in command, he and a handful of trusted corsairs ventured into the city.

They had been wading through the masses for nearly an hour when Scythe heard his name.

“Captain Ecator Scythe” said the voice, from a nearby archway. A tall figure approached, shadowed by four soldiers, faces cold and hard as stone. They wore spiked helms, and wielded sinister halberds. Scythe swallowed, hard.

Black guard, here?

“You have been... reassigned, captain,” the commander said, the slightest smirk on his face. The black guard rushed forward, their halberds swinging fiercely. How could they move that fast in that armour, carrying those weapons? The corsairs at Ecator Scythe’s side leaped forward to meet them, their own scimitars flashing free of their scabbards.

A few seconds later, they were mere corpses in the street. Scythe’s own weapons remained sheathed.

“You had your chance to obey orders, Scythe,” said the commander.

“This is outrageous,” said Scythe. “Return me to my ship, and she will join the invasion!”

“Invasion? Some might call it more of a… relocation. The rightful Phoenix King has decreed Naggaroth be abandoned to the daemons,” the commander droned on, his smirk widening. “As for the Lament, the Witch King sends his apologies. She has been given a new captain. One with more... loyal sympathies. Your command has been revoked, corsair.”

Blind rage flashed through Ecator Scythe. His gold, his crew, his whole bloody reputation had been smashed. But his ship? His beloved Lament, earned through a century of raiding, scheming, and climbing the ranks? He would sooner die than lose it. And Naggaroth… abandoned? What was Malekith thinking? He would sacrifice his whole people and their home to daemons, for a royal claim a millennium past?

Scythe felt something shift inside him. The urge to kill became everything.

Snap. He drew his twin blades, sweeping at ankle level. As the two nearest black guard fell, their Achilles tendons severed, he leaped backwards. Returning the swords to their scabbards, he drew his namesake, the cruel, black scythe slung across his back. Its obsidian blade shone in vicious, blood-glistened arcs, cleaving through steel and bone alike. He blinked, and saw the dismembered remains of his would-be captors, yet he felt no satisfaction. His murderous rage seemed instead to grow stronger, as if Khaine himself were a physical presence.

It was then that he noticed the alarm sounding from the docks, and the daemons. So many daemons….

---

Ecator Scythe stood alone. His wine skin empty, he turned to face the entrance to the Doom Gate, and the bloodied survivors he had led from the city into the Blackspine Mountains. He had not faced the perils of The Underworld Sea in many years, but there was nothing left for him here.

The image of Dawn’s Lament, burning... overrun in a fury of otherworldly red beasts, would fuel his revenge. Malekith would pay.

Yes, he had chosen vengeance. He had chosen murder.

He had chosen Khaine.

_________________
PLOG: Reapers of the Dawn


Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:31 pm
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Asuryan vs Khaine: The Choice of the 1st Battalion Naggarond

Part I

The rain slashed down.

It tore into the ground in roiling sheets from the heavens, and recoiled from the earth in spray.

Amid peals of thunder and the howling gale, flashes of light illuminated the mustering field.

"Kha"

The mass of troops spun on the spot effortlessly, their spears raised.

"Es"

The synchrony of their movement as they leapt forward to thrust their weapons in unison defied individualisation.

"Tir"

The sight was more like that of a single animal flexing and striking with its claws than a mass of warriors.

"Kan"

Such was their coordination as they thrust, and then covered behind their shields; thrust and then covered.

"Deh"

It was only after the initial shock of their coinstantaneous grace and lightness in battle manouevres had worn off, would an observer have noticed during the brightest of overhead flashes, that half of the warriors had triangular shields and raiments of blue cloth and silver scale, and half circular shields of brass, to match their brass armour and black trimmings.

"Sun"

Moreover, the silver scale was dulled and scratched, the brass chipped and worn. Despite their fluid agility, many of the warriors were splinted or bandaged with cloths betraying burgundy; battle damaged.

"Ut"

Two tall figures stood watching the drill; one of brass and black, the other of blue and silver. Their crests and ornamentation identified them as officers.

"That is enough, Aegon"

"Rou! ...Ceyl!"

The drilling warriors returned to attention on the command of the officer with the blue feathered helm. He turned to his dark colleague with anger unconcealed across his sharp features.

"What was that, Malilithillian?"

Rain thundered down upon the countenance of the two officers, and the gale served to conceal their conversation from the massed troops.

"The troops are battle weary, Aegon. And we fight the Aestyrion tommorrow."

Captain Aegon closed on Captain Malilithillian, lightning illumating the rage on his face.

"I know that well, Captain. And by Asuryan these troops will be ready to repel death himself by sunrise."

Malilithillian of Naggarond's did not break his gaze.

"They need rest before battle."

"They would have been able to rest already if your warriors were able to drill worth a damn ...I am not going to war against the Khainites with a Phalanx of only three functional ranks!"

"My troops are battle hardened, Aegon."

"My troops have been drilling together before yours were even born! I will not have the formation endangered by ineptitude!"

It was Malilthillian's turn to display anger.

"Before this campaign, how many battles had your guardsmen fought?"

Captain Aegon of Tor Elyr rolled his head in disgust.

The assembled troops were watching the scene steadily, minutiae of body language as well as garb identifying on which side their loyalties lay.

"Malekith, the Phoenix King, gave me command of this segment, Malilithillian. Not you."

He touched his pointed finger against Malilithiliian's throat, and hissed;

I'd say he did that for a reason! Any more insubordination and you will be disciplined...

"...how many?"

Now loud enough for the troops to hear;

"...YOU ARE DISMISSED, CAPTAIN."

Malilithillian's gaze conspiratorally caught that of his guard master, Thrax, as he turned and left the field. The flash of hatred was unmistakable to his lieutenant.

Aegon relaxed instantly, and turned back to the assembled troops. Smiling despite the conditions of the storm.

"Ready! Kha!"



********************************************
Part II

Thrax stepped through the tent flap.

His Captain was sitting on the edge of his bed, still in full armour, and deep in thought.

"Fool."

Malilithillian looked up at his subordinate. Exasperation mixed with dark humour on his face.

"Drilling in a storm on the eve of battle?"

Thrax decided to match his masters' mood;

"Drilling in a storm at the best of times isn't my idea of preparation, Sir!"

"Tomorrow we go into the final battle against the Aestyrion. Our warriors are already war damaged from the campaign. It is madness."

"Aegon believes that our combined formation is not up to scratch."

"I know he has been tasked by the Witch King to ensure the central phalanx will hold against whatever they throw at us. But a wise battle leader would be distilling confidence into his charges on the eve of battle, not drilling injured warriors about to face the greatest opposition they could ever face! He is afraid, and trying to mask it with vainglory."

The storm had eased now, and the raindrops merely popped occasionally against the fabric of the tent. Thrax moved to remove his Captain's armour, an indignity normally only fit for a slave -- but here on campaign in Ulthuan, there were no slaves.

"Once upon a time I would have imagined being on campaign in Ulthuan would mean having my bed warmed by Averlorn wenches while slaves catered to my every whim. Not smelling you from close range like the warriors have to."

Their long battle comradeship meant that Thrax had more leeway in verbal sparring with Malilithillian than others would have.

"I prefer the spun gold hair of Chracian maidens myself, Captain."

"Ahh, but there you are wrong. The rosy cheeks, nutmeg hair and soft brown skin of Averlorn is beyond compare. They keep all their best ones in the inner kingdoms. We've carried off far too many from the outer coasts!"

Thrax chuckled as he unfastened the last of his Captain's wargear. Until he noticed the injuries underneath.

"You are wounded, Sir."

"We are all wounded, Thrax."

Black encrusted blood covered the back of Malilithillan's haubergeon, the damage caused by a spiked concussive weapon.

"The Sorceress..?"

"The morn of battle will be all the healing I'll need Thrax."

Malilithillian painfully took his rest on his fur lined bed, while Thrax disarmoured himself, lacking a subordinate to do it for him.

"Do you think the Phalanx will hold, Sir?"

"At eighty Elves deep, I think it will hold a frontal assault. It is just a shame that our recent losses mean it will be a part Asur, part Druchii phalanx. Fighting alongside The Gatekeepers of Tor Elyr I can just about handle. Fighting behind them as their reserve is not something I can stomach!"

Malilithillian drew up the gold chain around his neck, and produced the icon that had been concealed beneath his silk undershirt. It was a piece of hardened bronze, in the shape of a triangle with crossing struts forming the outline of skull; an ancient rune of Khaine.

He held it up in the soft lamplight for his guardmaster's sight.

"This heirloom has been in the Malilithillian house for fifteen generations. Fifteen generations which have given service to Naggarond in the city guard. In truth, as merchants", he spat the term, "our unbroken line of service was our one great honour. Did my ancestors ever forsee that I would now carry it across Ulthuan ...not as conqueror, but as defender?"

Malilithillian let the question hang in the air. The only sound was the pop, pop of drips in the light rain.

Eventually Thrax answered.

"No one last season could have forsaw this."

"To think, that we would be the generation that won. That won the eternal war! Our Lord Malekith has been accepted as the true and rightful Phoenix King."

Thrax noticed the look on his master's face.

"You are not happy Sir?"

"I am glad that our King has finally been recognised ...I just didn't expect this victory to be so ...so ...hollow".

"How so, Sir?"

"Don't get me wrong Thrax, while I may be devoted, I was never one of the fanatics that would see Ulthuan drown in Asur blood."

He looked over at his guardmaster wryly.

"...after all there is work needing to be done, and high value slaves needing to do it."

Thrax grinned.

"But what I did expect was for them to be second class citizens. Not this, this, accomodation."

"Respectfully Captain, our Lord's support in this land is fragile, and our combined forces have proven strong. Very strong."

"True. I did not expect our combined forces to be as strong as they are. But this arrangement poses great peril for the future. It is not merely a case of us subordinating to that oaf, Aegon, it is the question of what will become of Druchii society. Is this the future, Thrax? A combined Kingdom? In future, will our warriors have to continually submit to the arrogance of princelings, or the superciliousness of the mages of Saphery?"

Malilithillian's gaze became distant.

"Do you remember the feel of setting the anchor of the battleline with our shieldwall? The rush as the Harbhui sweep screaming overhead, disrupting the opponents incoming assault? The joy of watching the Sisters of Eldrazor vault over shieldwalls, sowing confusion and death in enemy ranks? The shock of taking the enemy charge, and the exhiliration as the rage of our frenzied Maibd and the power of the draichs of our Ganthai crush them from both flanks?
Could you really live in a world without this?"


"You make it sound terrible, Sir!", Thrax laughed.

"This is no laughing matter." Malilithillian's tone changed, "This heralds the end of our civilisation as we know it. Our combined forces may be powerful, very powerful ...but what use is that strength if it cannot be applied? Under Asur leadership, laws, diplomacy, brokerage, tributes, trade ...weakness shall be the mode of the state. No longer to rule and be ruled, but mob rule by the weak, for the weak.
What of striking first? Striking best? Striking hardest? What of enslaving the meek and culling the competition?
"


Malilithillian lay back in his bed.

"They would turn us into a human kingdom with all of its talking and talking and pretence of morality. Except our Elven bureaucracy shall be as slow as the beat of an ancient Dragon's heart, while the lesser races will race on with a mayfly's youth and vigour."

He turned again to his subordinate.

"The Elves will fade from this world, Thrax. Without Druchii-led domination and our will to power, they will surely overpopulate and overwhelm us. This cannot be allowed."

The breeze blew gently in the darkness outside of the tent.

"Do you think we are going to die, tomorrow, Sir?"

"Asuryan creates and Khaine destroys.
Death is certain, Thrax.
It is what we do with the time that remains that is important."


Only the gentle pops of rain against the tent punctuated the silence.

"Thrax, if the warriors were to die tomorrow, who would they die for?"

"You do not need me to answer that, Captain."


********************************************

Part III

Technicolour light from the heavens pulsed down in waves, greeted by rising smoke and steam from newly erupted rents in the Earth. This was no mere backdrop of battle. This seemed like the very End of the World itself.

The battlelines assembled, their normal Elven precision and discipline thrown into havoc as the ground pulsed and rippled like water underfoot with each passing tremor. Leaders amongst the Phoenix Host raised their voices in a last gasp of bravado and resolve before the inevitable.

Captain Aegon patrolled in front of the combined Phalanx, exhorting his charges to knew heights of defiance.

His voice drifted past Captain Malilithillian, Thrax and the brass and black warriors of the 1st Naggarond heedlessly; they were in fugue.

Aegon's war speech and even the cataclysmic surrounds of the battlefield faded from perception; they were watching the opposite battleline of vermillion and black. Hordes of Maibd taunted and gestured laviciously as they worked themselves into a battle frenzy; lithe and dextrous Gladiatrix began their war dances, a picture of relaxation despite the coming onslaught; grim Ganthai, their Draich's resting blade tip against the ground, stared back impassively. But this was not who Malilithillian and his Elves were looking for. They scanned the battle line...

And then there was movement in the centre. First they felt him. And then they saw him.

It was like the setting Sun had fell to earth.

His radiance bloomed across the field, illuminating both the Aestyrion and the Host of the Phoenix King.

At the head of his army, amidst dark Nauglir Knights and shining Asur Knights -- now glittering sanguine in his reflection -- rode Tyrion; Avatar.

It began.

The phalanx pulsed tight together as the core of the Phoenix Host braced to receive the charging Khainites.

"ASUR, HOLD!"

The shock of the ravening Maidb horde was received on the locked shield wall of the first two ranks. The formation bucked, but held.

Malilithillian made his move.

"DRANNACHYR, READY!"

The brass and black warriors at the rear of the Phalanx pulled their spears back into striking position.

"KYNTHUITHALKEIN!"

Thirty black spears struck forward like pistons.

Thirty Asur warriors were impaled instantly; ran through like pigs on a spit.

Arterial blood sprayed over their dark battle brothers as the spears were retracted, and the carnage began.

Panic and confusion engulfed the Asur as the reality of the betrayal sank in.

...and so it was that Captain Aegon and the Gatekeepers of Tor Elyr were ripped apart by expect enemies in front, and unexpected enemies behind -- all for the Glory of Khaine!



-=-=-

Bonus -- For the Glory of Khaine!

Okay. Let me take you back to early 4th edition. A massive four a side game, IIRC High Elves and Skaven vs Dark Elves and Dwarves. My friends had taken pity on me because I didn't have a dedicated army book, and let me make up a Hag Queen character before the game. The BRB had the stats for a Hag Queen, but no option to take one in the BRB DE army list. So, I worked out a points value, OKed it with my mates, and gave her the Deathsword (for 8 S10 attacks) and a cheap amulet -- yes, I'm claiming to have invented Hellebron! :mrgreen: I put her with a Hag with an Obsidian amulet and a standard bearer with the razor standard in a unit of 20 Witches.

So, the game kicks off and I charge a chaff unit of Skaven Slaves that has been placed opposite my Witches. My opponent's ploy was to feed me the unit to hold me in place while his hard hitters, the Plague Monks, lined up a flank charge. He even had a sneaky character in the Slaves with a magic item of challenge stasis that took my proto-Hellebron off to the realm of magic for a bit.

However, my Witches and hero Hag then got to work. The opposing team's jaws hit the floor! The slaves were insta-blended, and my biatch Elves carried on to charge the Plague Monks ...and also immolated them! Proto-Hellebron eventually got out of the stasis, insta-killed her opponent, and was now free to run around the table by herself. Late in the game the Witches and proto-Hellebron combo charged into another major melee and wreaked a now unsurprising level of carnage. Never would they be underestimated again!

So, for the Glory of Khaine = all of the Witch Elves I've ever ran. When they get their preferred charge and do well, I do well. When they don't get their preferred charge, or get charged, I lose!

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Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:56 pm
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Chosen of Khaine
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A couple of notes... (a) Can I put an 18/R rating on this? Few slightly edgy sections. (b) Under threat of TD's legion of assassins, I'm posting pre-final edit. If anyone actually makes it through in one go, PM me so I can reimburse you for the popcorn/energy drink/psychotherapy*.
(*Please note, I can only actually afford to reimburse popcorn.)

By way of battle field note, the freshest in my mind is my Kharibdyss' work vs. the hated Asur; holding out against combined attack of and Eagle and Dragon Prince, killing the Dragon in the process and pinning the others until Veysha's Cold Ones could charge. Details here; http://www.druchii.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=76091!

I saw others have posted some pictures, so thought you might enjoy a positioning shot from me too. Shooting after work in Soho last week, given the model (Jemma) had a bun, and black lipstick and was altogether awesome in the cold, I thought she could be a decent Veysha stand in until I get the miniature painted.

Image
Witchlight (Jemma Funge), Soho Noir by flatworldsedge, on Flickr

The lesson of Naggaroth

It would be like her first dance. All over again. Seven. Blood. Perfection. Death.

When she had outlined the plan, Tyrion - no, Khaine - had simply met her eyes. The naked stare of a living god. "Can you do this?"
"Yes," she stated. Only the truth could survive such searing scrutiny. "So long as I am tortured"

---

There had been a momentary ecstasy when it began. It had shocked Veysha; how she arched and gasped like a whore as the pain took her. The joy of sudden feeling so intense. Yet shortlived. Then there was only the vice like grip of darkness. She gave herself over to instinct, to howls, whimpers, convulsions and spasms. Her poise was shattered. The smooth flow of probabilities gone; signal overwhelmed with noise, with animal reflex, grief, terror.

Fear swilled within her like vomit. These people were fools, after all. What might they do to her, in error or rage? They had emptied her stomach, in torrents of acid and bile. Blasts of urine. Blasts of filth. It clung to her in a grotesque curtain, like wax on a gutted candle. Hung from her manacled arms, her naked toes grazing the floor as she shivered in unwelcome release.

Hours became days. Her every moment became a shuddering wasteland of anguish and fumes. Occasional snapshots seen through a drunken haze of pain, hunger and abuse; still just six. Six men; shadows watching as each in turn leered close to clutch her neck, bark or whisper foul threats, twist a silver pin into muscle or bone. The Druchii twins and the shrill play of their needles across her singingly tender nerves. Two Asur, talking of mercy, but in their eyes only arrogance, hate, self-loathing and lust. The impassive gaze of the Asrai; a mage and acolyte, watching, learning, keeping their counsel.

Yet, the pain seared through her with the constancy of a waterfall. Like standing naked beneath mountains, in a pillar of meltwater. It thundered like a cavalry charge. Through and over, stripping away all noise. Purifying. Refining her.

Still six shapes seen through darkness, still six. She could not beat six. Only seven.

---

Witchbells. It was like nothing she had experienced since she had paused to gather witchbells.

From the ice-rimmed ridge two dark horses surveyed the Wastes to the north. Snow choked mountains, vast spires of rock spinning up into a leaden sky of warring clouds. The world below a pale slope of frost. Waiting in awed silence. The storm rumbled in a wave of power. When it struck, nothing would live. It would hit like the fist of God.

"Naggaroth, Veysha," her father noted, "is not a land. Naggaroth is a process. What do I mean by this?" Their horses gave a rueful shudder as the storm cracked another mountain.
"It is a catalyst, father. It tests us. Some live, many die. The distribution is not random. The strong, the fierce survive the weak. So we rise."
“And to what end, do we rise?”

Veysha paused. She knew the conventional answer; to reclaim that which had been taken. Reclaim Ulthuan, reclaim the throne. Yet she paused, testing and discarding theorems a hundred a second. The logic was flawed. Why rise above, only to reach back down, only to return?

“What treason do you frame in those dark thoughts, Veysha?” her father frowned.
“I examine the logic, father. There is no treason; I refine the truth."
There was wrath in his growled reply. “What truth?”

Suddenly a husky roar from below. A ruddy stain on the snow had slipped around the spur of the hill. Marauders on stern ponies. Their war cry boomed again; coloured by lust. They wanted more than her blood; her flesh, her soul. She'd turned Midnight to charge, thrilled by the wet slosh as they plunged their ragged mounts into the frozen stream to reach her. Down the slope, she could plunge like a falcon, like an angel of murder.

"Six," she whispered, eyes bright with mischief, narrow with desire. "I shall give them to Khaine."

Her father grasped her reins. "Three battles, Veysha," her father had said. "Can you win them all?"

The maruaders. The storm. What was the third? The war of truth? Defiance warred with reason for a heartbeat, and the chance was gone. Too late to charge now. The Druchii turned together and half shadow, half wind, they were gone.

Like black comets they fell through the breakneck maze of winter pine. Racing through nightfall. A glimpse from the corner of her eye, and she wheeled Midnight to stop in an explosion of white powder. Her father snarled, gave a shout, his breath like a taloned spectre in the cold, but the tinkling lullaby of the stream, the pillows of snow about its banks, demanded that she stop. With a grim stare and disgusted bark, his horse gave a rumbling stamp, then rearing, flashed into renewed gallop and was gone.

She was alone. A winter clarity hung in the air. It reeked like steel, like cobalt. The water slid and bubbled beneath like a miracle through the frigid oasis she had found. Clustered like obsidian along its course the flowers winked. Icy fractals tumbled over them; the first breath of the storm. She should leave. Yet she could not. Gleaming in the blue shadow of the winter twilight, like the shadowy eyes of a mistress, beneath a halo of snow-cloaked pine, just looking upon them summoned an airy thrill to her chest.

The storm rumbled again. Or was that hooves? Somewhere in the dull glow of the coming night, dark clouds piled on dark clouds, and maruaders galloped nearer again.

Swiftly she cut the blooms one by one, and dreamt on the night ahead. The shutters thrown upon to the howl of the wind. The shouts of dismay beneath her spire as the storm hit and the weak were purged. She would lie upon silk, the witchbells scattered about her, and as the North-men screamed and perished, she would smile. Her fingers would tiptoe down, into deeper dreams, seafaring, into sleek perfection.

Veysha remembered the velvet drum of Midnight's hooves as he bore her back, his hot musculture rising and falling like a lover beneath her. She threw him breathless forward, relishing the wet lash and slap of leaves across her face as they hurtled through the dark labyrinth. An instant later, the world burst in a dazzling expansion as she flew from the forest across the frozen sweep before the walls.

When she pushed harder to the sealed gates, and they did not open, and Midnight skidded on the frosted cobblestones, smeared his flanks across the cold wall of iron that blocked her path, shrieked in outraged panic, nearly threw her... that was when she realised. She was suddenly alone. The witchbells lay scattered like a funeral offering, black blooms beneath the silent citadel that loomed above. A cold spear of terror rose like nausea through her throat. Her father had commanded the gates shut. With maruaders at your heels, with a winter storm breaking on the horizon, one did not dally to gather witch bells. This was the lesson she would learn. Naggaroth would be her tutor for three nights.

Snatches haunted her tortured dreams. Broken moments; the gruff shouts above the blizzard as they stalked her. The lewd, chuckling groans of their warhorses as they cornered her amidst the stands of pines. The hopeless odds now that they were the hunters. A sudden blow, and the tumbling impact of the ever thicker snow. Midnight and the world, turned upside down above her. Rough skin. Tresspassing hands. In turns and in a mob. That it was so mundane, predictable, relentless the process of their assault.

The virgin snow squealed beneath her, but worked hard soon gave itself to slush. It swilled about her thighs, splashed, soaked through torn clothes; raspingly tactile, searingly cold. The first slashed her belly open, disembowelled her, or so she thought in terror. When she reached tentatively down, her fingers skittered through the slick, sticky mess of heat. There was no wound. Only another to take his place, hot tears of fierce hate, and another sudden lance of heat; saluting and falling against her.

As they hoisted her by manacles, she remembered the horrible realisation; that six men was both too many and too few. That her shrill threats, fear of death, horror, bargaining, pleading, pain, disgust, retching, tears... that it was meaningless to them. The blizzard lashed about her like ghosts fighting for her corpse. She remembered the clash of emotions. How the relentless pressure of abuse and storm and hatred and terror somehow fused together. How only when she had plumbed the grimmest depths, did she find the strength to climb. A new level of being crackled into life. Finally she saw.

They spoke. Their tongue was like fighting hogs. Decoding it was trivial; the puzzle gave her an anchor. They waited for a seventh. The seventh would save them from the storm. He could not, however, save them from her.

Most of all, she remembered Midnight. His joy as she staggered across the seven corpses. His concern as he nuzzled her ruined arm... His scream of betrayal as she cut his throat. Though she was empty, frozen, on a razor edge between life and death, it was more than shelter. Such power as Khaine had shared, demanded sacrifice in return. It deserved her greatest love. Not as trade, but as worship.

She remembered how he thrashed amidst the swirling sparkle of the storm; blood like black ink in the colourless night. The foul, grinding crunch of her fractured bones, crushing against each other, as she forced herself into the disemboweled cavity. The sting of acid stripping her throat as she sheltered within his ruptured organs. How the hot, wet, eely caress of his intestines on her face would not let her sleep, never let her forget.

"You were taken by steel, not by cold. You are with Khaine now." There was something bizarrely pathetic about her words, spoken from within the ruined corpse. "I love you. Henceforth, we ride together... always."

When the gates opened and she limped barefooted across the frost, she did not need to speak. He noted her missing steed, the smell of its bowels upon her, the scars of scrapes against frost-barbed bark on her back, the crusted sheen of blood and fluid streaked across her pale thighs, the dark bruise of manacles on her wrists, the improbable angle of the broken arm. Seven severed heads rolled to stop at his feet and he met her eyes. No words were needed. She had learned the lesson of Naggaroth.

Did he understand, however, that she had also learned the truth?

---

That was the last dream that was her own.

Thereafter they were the nightmares of others that haunted her. The Asrai clung to her. The Spellsinger. Lithe fingers clutched her shoulders like a falcon, whilst lips brushed against her ear, whispering darkness and filth. For a moment it was exquisite, like the desperate touch of a lover, then the dreams would come flooding into her. Moments stretched like years. Such density of information, such raw, undiluted pain; it wracked through her with the vicious intensity of orgasm. Deaths lived over and over. Centuries of hate thick and staining as oil. The madness of the deep wood took her into its coils and dragged her thrashing into the very depths of hell for a millenium of abuse, compressed into a blaze of data.

---


An impact snapped her sharply to - as if thrown from battlements upon a frozen lake. A cold sheet of water swept the filth from her. Another blast of ice slapped against her. Now there were would be seven. The haze, the noise had gone.

"Hello, father," she breathed, opening her eyes. Seven.
"Hello, Veysha," his voice was level. It was five decades since she had heard her true name on her father's lips. She had worn her sister's like a curse. "You have your seven now, Veysha. Perhaps, then, I shall finally see how it was done."

He took in hand the runic blade she had claimed that day, and let it catch the light as he strolled towards her. The green glow of witchlight pooled along its satin silver curves. It had sheltered with her in Midnight's corpse. She knew it as intimately as a lover; more intimately than many.

"I apologise for your treatment so far. They told me of your capture, but probability suggested you were still your sister. Five decades lived under the cloak of a false death is the outlier in this analysis." His cold, appraising eyes swept across her naked body. “Our enemy camps near the citadel. I did not have time to verify an outlier, and your sister would not have survived a week of such cruelty. Congratulations, Veysha. Now you have my attention.”

He met her eyes; a glossy infinity of hate and sparking, fractal logic. It was like touching a mirror. Mad spiralling brilliance; Veysha suddenly realised this is what her victims saw as she took their lives. She had forgotten his genius. An equal. An atom’s margin spelt death.

Her father addressed the High Elf. "Your torture so far has been futile. You heat, bend, beat and quench - you forge a stronger, sharper blade. I shall continue the interrogation."

In the silence a low snort signaled the words had hit home. Chain's clinked. Somewhere distant, the hushed roar of a winter storm. He studied her, pale skin gleaming with the wash of water. Dark wet hair, thick as blue paint, looped like a dragon's tail over one shoulder.

"Who struck her?" Her father half turned to the six shadows behind.
The High Elf took an unrepentant step forward. "I did. I was provoked."
"Provoked how?"
"She boasted of... an act."
"What act?"
"She killed my son... ate him... alive."
"Ate him?” Her father’s head turned smoothly, like an owl to assess her. “How depressing. It rules out madness."
"Surely it confirms her madness?"
"No.” A brief pulse of calculation. “It confirms her sanity. It confirms her plans.”
Noting the grim fury of the High Elf’s glare, he turned back to him. “Her hair, do you not see? You have knocked it loose.”
The Asur broke with a roar. "Your daughter eats my son; and you complain I have left her hair out of place?!"

Still affecting to study her blade, he let the silence reinforce his control.

"A wise first step in such interogations is to shave one's captive,” he noted without emotion. “Show them Veysha."

Veysha reluctantly relaxed her grip upon the breached manacles. Though she descended merely from tiptoe to heel, such was the impossibility that she moved against steel, that they now gasped, as if she was a crucified succubus, suddenly floating pristine from the cross.

She drew her hair back and twisted it carefully behind her head. Revealing a long silver needle in one hand, she deftly plucked its twin from her other shoulder. Twisting them together, Veysha fixed her hair back in place.

"Pinning the suprascapular nerve cluster offers both utility and risk," her father offered to the would be inquisitors. "Certainly, in terms of the discomfort caused, it offers significant application. Yet the enterprising captive, if desperate or determined enough, can reach a pin with their teeth. Of course, their tormentor would notice that it was missing... unless concealed. Hence my suggestion that in future you shave your captives."

"However," he turned his attention to his daughter. "Genius, Veysha, describes only our potential. If we are horses, it is the fastest we may gallop. Yet it is not the speed at which we choose to. A flaw found in even greater minds that ours is that we choose only to outpace our immediate pursuers, whatever our potential. Why race lightning when you are only pursued by wolves?"

"It is a failing found often in daemons undone by mortals," noted Veysha.

"Good. Yet has your frame has been limited by the company you keep. You have outpaced these wolves, no doubt, but not lightning - not me." Her father slipped closer, witch light sliding across his angular profile. "I appreciate you needed to provoke this wretch to strike you. The truth, however, was a poor choice. Eating a prince, Veysha, it is far to rich in data."

He shifted in the cool green glow, calling over his shoulder. "When was your son lost?"

The Asur's voice was choked with hate. "Ten years ago."

"Now I know you have a force of Shades, and that you have led them for some years; two decades I would conjecture, but perhaps ever since your escape from Ghrond. That you lead Shades tells me too that your capture by patrol was every bit as planned as I suspected, and that tells me exactly how your allies will strike next. I will take care of them shortly. First, I shall deal with you."

He stood a sword's length from her now. So poised and seemingly calm. She sensed it though, the coiled reflex, as a serpent lurks beneath a mirrored pool. Not yet.

"I have interviewed a dozen traitors now, and heard a dozen versions of the same pathetic rhetoric. Malekith is a king, Khaine is a god. Is that your logic too, Veysha? Did I not better instruct you in semantics? Surely you must recognise; god... king... they are the same."

"No," Veysha intoned slowly.

"It disgusts me, Veysha, to think you missed this." It was a statement, not to depress or intimidate. He did not shake his head or ruefully tut. He stated fact; he was disgusted.

"No father, you are wrong. Lightning and wolves... Now it is your turn to see how fools have constrained your thinking."
"How so?"
"Like a daemon, father. You too are blinded by your frame. God and king are only the same if you frame them as entities. How else could one frame them, though father?"
"Continue," he commanded, when she did not.

"Certainly, Malekith is a man, an entity, an individual with its own selfish schemes and desires. Khaine, however, is not. Khaine is a process. Khaine is a catalyst, father. It tests us. Some live, many die. The distribution is not random. The strong, the fierce survive the weak. So we rise. Do you not recognise him now?"

A significant pause. A nimbus of implied meaning surged in the air. The secret, dueling language of intellect matched.

"Imagine a staircase; spiralling upward to infinity. How far we have climbed since we were first cast on Naggaroth's bitter shores? Struggling onto the broken, frozen rocks. Shattered there on the beach we left the remnants of our wretched past. The Phoenix Crown left amidst the shipwreck. We bent our backs to the challenge, and climbed. Many fell; frost and hunger, tooth and claw. Many were unworthy of the climb. Yet reaching above us..." She conjured the heavens with a gesture, "...an infinity still to climb."

"My eyes, father, have stared into the soul of a living god. It burns to raise us. What do you see in Malekith's eyes? What is his ambition, now he wafts his pathetic, trinket crown? A petulant score settled. What passion remains, for this people?" Rage had crept into her voice, coloured it with passion. Now it fell to a dark whisper, "Malekith has bid us stop. Stooped from high to pick the Phoenix Crown from the flotsam so far below. To what end?"

No one spoke. "To what end, father?"

A voice from the six shadows broke the silence, a call from the gallery, one of the Druchii twins. "It was his birthright."

"Filth. I care nothing for his birthright."

"You speak of the Phoenix Crown," the Asur shadow barked in outrage.

"What of it? A metal hoop. Another title to wear alongside 'coward' and 'wretch'," she lashed them with the truth, soared above the cries of protest and anger. Her own deeper wrath flared like lava in the green of her eyes, flashing now like brass "Self serving obsession. Father! Do you not see? He has stooped to gather witchbells. Abandoned Naggaroth, abandoned all we built, wrecked the foundations, and all it could become. Betrayed an infinity of futures to come. Why? Chasing selfishly back to the past, like a geriatric princeling chasing the only maid servant he never fucked as a boy."

"I'll gut you for this treason," snarled the Asur, snaking forward, blade naked.
"Ha! Why not gut the ten thousandth prime that it ends in 9?"
"Malekith is king! He stands above us all."
"He can stand where he likes. Hold him as high as you like. Still he is nothing. A fixed point in an infinite series."

"A fixed point in an infinite series," her father echoed. His eyes flashed to hers; a black furnace of thought.

"Khaine is not an entitiy," Veysha restated with finality. "Khaine is a process. Khaine is the act of climbing. Caring nothing for birthright. Caring nothing for title or rank or petty claims. Caring nothing for that which was promised. Caring nothing for tears. Caring only for the intensity with which we live. Caring only for progress. Khaine is the process of ascent."

The lesson of Naggaroth.

---

A tense silence stalked each of those present. Blood was inevitable now.

Her father drew himself up. "The discussion is at an end," he stated abruptly. She looked at him hard. The others watched too. Steel glinted in the feral green light. Even the walls watched. Wet stone glimmered like a black mirror in the dark. A dull nimbus of energy flashed and pulsed around the Spellsinger's paws.

"Veysha. When I heard of your death, I cried. In front of my court, I cried."

Veysha recalled the heads upon the ramparts; opportunist fools that took his tears for weakness. Remembered in pristine detail watching from the shadows, as he caught the would-be assassin's blow and twisted the doomed man into a arm-wrenching lock. A single, utterly fluid sweep of motion. Her father had continued speaking, "I did not think I could feel such pain. Until I discovered of your betrayal.

He gathered himself. "Your logic fails, as you have lost the gravity of truth. Without that anchor to hold your course, you have found only treason. I took you for an equal. Now I learn you are just another gifted fool, aping genius. Perhaps to please me, perhaps to please yourself. It matters not." The six shadows relaxed slightly. They had not been wrong. He had not been turned by this vixen. Perhaps, all would be well.

"Now, apprised as I am of your mental deficiency, let me restate the facts in simple terms. Malekith is king. His agents demand the knowledge you hold, and you shall share it with them." He spoke with a severe pace. She could not read him. Was it theatre, or a death sentence?

"There are two things you value, Veysha. Your beauty, and your intellect. I shall take your beauty first, without negotiation or further discourse. In minutes you shall be flayed, and burned. Your flesh I shall seed with worms, and you shall see them grow to flies on the moist harvest of your body. Your skin will seeth with their fat, droning forms. You will keep just a single eye, so that when I hold up a glass you will see your ruined face and rotten, half unravelled organs. Thereby, once you fully understand what it is to lose a part of yourself, you will be equipped for me to begin the interrogation in earnest. For then, you will have a single chance to reveal all that Malekith demands. I will ask you once, and deliver you a clean death if you comply."

A brief, dour pause. "If you do not, however, then just as I broke your beauty, I shall break your mind. I shall open your head with a vice, and all it contains I shall pull apart - piece by piece. I will let you keep your senses for the first few days. You will understand what is happening at first, as your logic, your numbers, your words are lost to you. I will give you enough light to search for them, but all you will find is growing darkness as your world folds upon itself. You will be swept through nightmares on a tide of terrified confusion and dismay. Until you understand nothing except the horror that swallows your soul. Until you wink out... and tumble finally into the gibbering void that was there before I taught you all you know."

Knowing her father's speech patterns, she had swung for him on the seventh syllable of his second sentence. As he settled into a pace, whilst his mind framed the closing rhetoric and juggled the burden of the words to come. With that came the greatest reliance upon instinct and rote reflex. So as she swept the heel of her palm to drive his nose into his brain, he caught her one handed and twisted her. A single, utterly fluid sweep of motion. Muscle memory, as she had conjectured. Even expecting it, it felt like falling from one horse, into another at gallop. For a thrilling splinter of a second she was weightless, lashed almost inside out. And yet his speech continued, allowing him to finish each word.

There was a calming void here, in the eye of the storm, held fast in his esoteric arm lock. An urgency pulsed and ticked in the air, as if they stood in the moist, charcoal heart of a thundercloud, seconds before it flared into storm. The current shivered through them like ozone. The sleek curve of her rune blade flashed in and out of vision on the other side. If she could just reach through her father...

"Strain all you want, Veysha. There is only one escape from this hold."

No, father, there are two. She did not voice it, instead she spoke a challenge.

"Let us test my theorum, father."
Marshalling her entire being, every fibre of pain-purified fury, she bent against his grip.

"Your Malekith against my Khaine."
She had met his eyes, touched the soul of God. All distractions had been washed away; like meltwater blasting through the mountain.

"Your fixed point against my infinite series."
Building in pressure, as a volcano before cataclysm, she forced herself against the locking hold upon her elbow, the strain like a billon tonnes of liquid fire against a single wall of rock. Her father set his strength against the juggernaut of force summoned against him, straining to keep her. He could not restrain her longer with one hand. Both were needed. He released her sword from his grasp. It fell, but did not touch the ground.

A crystalline roar of power rose from her throat, from the core of her being, like a siren, a herald screaming the end of time. Suddenly the world stopped, compressed into singularity.

Now Veysha was standing in the wrong place. The sword flickered across her father's back and he exploded into the Spellsinger. Lightning erupted, but collapsed back upon its source, flowered over the tumbling pair as they collided. An azure burst of warping force. A dull boom of power, and all the room was floating, as if all were lost to the sea, floating in the dim turquoise equilbrium of flooded Nagarythe.

And Veysha flew through it, as might a living saint, her feet flickering, skipping across the stone like hawkmoths. Her blade swept in geometries so intricate, the very mathematics of reality bent about them. Arcs and wheels, weaving the air with axioms of blood so perfect that even as their bodies fell from beneath them, even as they fought to parry, to live, they could only fall apart, and watch with horrified wonder at the serenity of her dance.

So quick was the assault, so sudden, they had a moment to glimpse the truth before darkness swallowed them. Veysha standing, one arm wrongly forced upon itself. Splintered bone shone from the elbow, like the ruins of a wizard's citadel, or the foul curve of a shattered minotaur's horn. She had turned somehow. Not against her father's hold, but with it. She had simply rolled through her own elbow joint. A second way.

Blood rained down in a soft looping splash. Veysha's senses collapsed upon themselves. She had touched eternity. Through the numbing pulse of drained perfection, she looked for him again. A wide bar of blood and ash curved away from the Spellsinger's ruined corpse. The mage was dead, eyes hollowed by redirected energy, the black vengence of the inheritance hung around her father's neck.

A ragged breathing drew her gaze and she found him. Wreathed with smoke, he had slithered some six feet. She closed with him. One arm sleek perfection, pale flesh and runic steel. The other a ruin of smoking blood and fractured bone. The pain seared like a beacon, as if it burned.

"Look at us both," she breathed. "What a sorry metaphor we are."

Had he grasped her truth, seen her second way? A father and daughter conspiring through love that she might break her body, to destroy their kin, to take his life? Perhaps. The tragedy of it would have knocked the wind from her. Were she not already empty. If the war had not already shown her a hundred such scenes of pathetic, terminal irony. A dying race. Perhaps nothing would be left. Nothing would be strong enough to raise itself from this test. Perhaps.

"Do not cry," she whispered, even as bright tears danced across her own cheeks. "I love you, father."

She slipped the black amulet from his neck, and over her own. "Henceforth, we ride together..."

He turned slowly to face her, rose to his knees. Perhaps to speak. There was no time, however, to gather witch bells. And such power as had been shared demanded recognition. It deserved her greatest love. Not as a trade, but as worship. So with a single cut, Veysha gave her father to Khaine.

"...always".

_________________
Veysha Everkiss
Plog: Veysha Everkiss and the Clan of the Shadow Fox
Battle Reports: vs. Beastmen; 2000 pts, vs. High Elves; 2000 pts, vs. Beastmen; 3000 pts


Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:06 pm
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What time zone is D.net in? I hope I am not late. :D

The mourning wife

The night was silent, there was nothing but empty darkness around her, the same hopeless void that was dwelling in her heart. Not a single star was shining that would caress her with its light and even the moon was covering his face. No sounds were to hear, even birds and insects were respecting her solitude. She was alone with her grief.

My husband... He was gone for just a few days but she was already missing him more than she could have imagined. His smile had always been able to fill her with joy, his whispers had been helping her to fall asleep and filling her dreams. She had adored him and spared no effort to sparkle joy in his eyes. Now, his army was defeated, his strength vanished and she had to lead her remaining sisters on her own.

But how? What does he command? How could they win him back? The dawn was approaching and with the first light, their enemies would strike again. They could evade open battle for some time but how long will it take to pin them down?

My husband... Every night, she was now dreaming about him coming back, reaching to her body and soul again. Every day, she was thinking about the many small things she had been allowed to do for him that were bearing no meaning anymore. They say that every pain ceases with time but how could any man match him? How could any kind of joy fill the emptiness in her heart?

The dawn was approaching, her sisters had awoken and were now preparing for another battle - sharpening their weapons, fastening their thin possessions to their belts, drawing red and black lines on their faces and bodies. When she returned from her meditation, they were ready, awaiting her orders, tired and sad but as devoted as always. She took a deep breath.

„My sisters!“ she called to them. She hardly recognized her own voice, it was almost empty of the usual zeal but a new, unshakable determination was clinging in it instead. „We are in a dire situation, low in numbers, cut from alies, abandoned by the very founder of our order while our enemies are overconfidently marching our way. Another commander might order retreat and try to save his skin. But if there is one single thing I know it is that our lord has never liked cowardice.

My dear sisters, we were strong in our devotion before the war and we will by no means betray him now in his darkest hour. No, we will do what we know pleases him most: We will charge out, cut through anyone who gets in our way and emerge on the other side of the battlefield, covered in blood and engulfed in glory. This is how we have sworn to serve our lord; this is what we were born for.

Sisters, we are going to battle. Let the weapons dance! Let the blood flow! For Khaine!“

They shouted in unison and got moving towards their foes. Soon they saw the lines of archers and wedges of knights and sped up their pace. Before noon, they would be with their husband again.

-------------------------

BONUS:
The battle was lost. Many elves died and the surviving ones were abandoning their positions to at least bring home the news: There is a new Chaos attack and they failed to stop it. Only the general stubbornly refused to give up the ground and tore apart a winged beast despite his heavy wounds; a small consolation among the disaster.
Then, a dark rider commander looked around. Their enemies were all far away, no one was in position to harm them before their horses would carry them away. They had enough time for one last volley of crossbow bolts – but what to aim at?
Then, they spotted a demon prince of Slaanesh, heavily wounded and hiding behind some rocks from the view of bolt thrower crews. They aimed and fired.
Many bolts sticked in trees, some fell short, many were just laughable stings for the monter.
The commander waited, however, and when the mage turned their way to laugh at their vain efforts, he shot once more. The bolt dodged all obstructing branches and hit perfectly the sorcerer's eye – and not even the protection of his dark god saved him and the monster finally fell to the ground.

Five dark riders, 7+ to hit against a demon prince with T5, 3+ armour, 5+ ward and I was indeed able to get the last wound from him. Together with my COT ogre blade dreadlord killing his manticore (which was quite a bold charge bold as well given that there was ASL on my lord at the time) I got some 700 points in the last turn which saved me the draw. The invasion was stalled at least after all!

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Alternative Armies - because we can build any army without GW!


Fri Dec 26, 2014 11:00 pm
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Killed by Khorne
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Location: Hinterlands of Khuresh; The Lost City of the Angels
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Hellebron rose head and shoulders above the surface of the pool, red wine rivulets of life liquid running down her freshly renewed features. The rapture of her vernal beauty an unreal contrast to the slaughter in which she bathed. Incense from the burning lamps and spice from the sacrificial ichor carried a heavy tang in the air.

"Veysha Everkiss"

She took pleasure in accenting the last syllable.

"...I had a dream in which you starred."

Hellebron watched Veysha's response closely.

"Lord Khaine himself placed a glowing golden crown of thorns upon your brow. Three times has Our Lord appeared to me in this way. And for only three Elves; Tullaris, Tyrion ...and now, you!"


Veysha, ritually disarmed and on bended knee, flanked by two hulking Guardsmen, looked up to meet the burning intensity of Hellebron's gaze with an icy steel of her own.

"It is not lightly that Khaine bestows his favour. Both you and I know..." the coy neoteny of her arching eyebrow clashed with the depths of experience and power revealed in her eyes, "...that news of our god's death has been exaggerated. In this new era, it appears that you will be the Chosen of Khaine."

Veysha stayed, unmoved and unrevealing.

"But I for one want to test these portents. These are exceptional times after all. Guards, bring him..."

Two more fearsome Draichsmen emerged from the shadows beyond the torchlight, clanking chains netting a naked male figure between them.

"This is General Vaik...

Veysha's residual wychsight revealed the nimbus of Ghyran playing about the figure. He had been recently resurrected.

...he has already felt the touch of our Menkhain. Alas, the circumstances of the day have necessitated him a temporary leave of absence from the embrace of Our Father."

Vaik turned a shade of pale Veysha had never witnessed amongst even the Druchii, and his black eyes regarded her with unrestrained terror.

"Vaik is now yours. You shall make him tell all he knows, and you shall make of him a tribute to the Lord of Murder, fitting of your new station. His life shall leave him over six weeks from midnight tonight; not more, not less."

Hellebron dismissed them all with a gesture, and sank back into her vermillion ecstasy.


**************


Congratulations to flatworldsedge on winning our top prize, and in quite exquisite style!

Congratulations also to Vincean who has now come to the attention of Khaine, if not in quite the way he would have wanted!

This competition was an opportunity to thread some of our own personal army narratives into the overarching narrative of The End Times, and it was great to read the stories of all entrants. Some of your tales would be fitting for the Black Library itself!

Within the entire E-Universe of Warhammer, you have raised a proud banner for the culture of the Druchii 8) Our thanks!



**************


The great obsidian doors of the inner chamber closed with a booming clang.

Hellebron waited languorously for the reverberations to fade, and then raised her voice:


"Khaelarha!"

A shadow emerged into form in the statue-lined heights of the temple roof, and dropped silently to kneel at the foot of the stairs to the Throne Cauldron.

"Watch Her"

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- Adding Tactical Depth to Your Favourite Tabletop Wargame


Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:18 pm
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